How to Source Candidates During a Skills Shortage

how to source candidates

Sourcing during a skills shortage may feel like an impossible task, but with the right approach, you can improve your sourcing results for even the toughest roles. We’ve compiled stats and strategies for five of the most in-demand industries.  Read the entries on Finance, BusinessHealthcareTech, and Skilled Trades. Read on below for some insights and tips on how to source candidates.

Candidate Sourcing: a Top Priority for You AND for Your Clients

Candidate sourcing—defined here as the proactive search for an initial engagement of candidates for a role—is one of the first and most vital components of talent acquisition. Without quality candidates, your candidate placement engine can’t run. And that engine is critical for meeting the hiring needs of your clients, generating business, and ultimately, remaining profitable as a firm.

It’s easy to see why 42 percent of recruiting professionals say candidate acquisition is one of their three biggest priorities.

It also tops the wishlist of your clients: recruiting clients say the single biggest thing providers can do to improve their service is to provide better-qualified candidates.

Unfortunately, with an increased demand for candidates and fierce competition, sourcing quality candidates isn’t an easy task. But what’s the most cited sourcing obstacle? The talent shortage.

The Talent Shortage isn’t Going Anywhere

The talent shortage isn’t a new challenge for staffing firms, but it may be the biggest one. Forty-one percent of surveyed recruiting professionals cite it as the single biggest challenge for 2018, and another 23 percent cited it as a top-three challenge. It was also a top challenge in the last several years, ahead of other major concerns like pricing pressures and global economic uncertainty. If you’re in the staffing business, you’re probably grappling with the shortage in one way or another.

Become a Sourcing Pro with Sourcing for the Shortage: The Ultimate Guide to Candidate Sourcing

The bad news? The talent crunch might get worse before it gets better. Seventy percent of staffing pros expect hiring needs to increase in 2018. Your unique client base is a factor, but recruiting professionals in every industry expect an increase in hiring needs. An increase in demand is great for your business, but it only amplifies the need to find and place high-quality candidates.

Which Sources Generate the Most Qualified Candidates?

All candidates are not created equal, and neither are the sources you use to find them. Staffing professionals ranked the most effective candidate sources for the 2018 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report. These are the top results for sourcing candidates across all industries. Come back each week to see the top sources for verticals like Healthcare and Tech.

Industry-Specific Tips to Source Candidates

How can you better source candidates for your industry? Find tips for Finance, BusinessHealthcareTech, and Skilled Trades. Here’s a sampler of some top tips by industry.

Healthcare: KYA (Know Your Acronyms)

Certifications are king in healthcare staffing. If you’re sourcing roles with specific credentialing or certification requirements, make sure you know all of the relevant acronyms your candidates may use.

These acronyms often appear in searches instead of full certification names. They also make for great search keywords. Find a useful index of healthcare terms like these, and bookmark them for a reliable resource to use for your next search. These glossaries are a great reference to study up on so you can show potential candidates you understand their industry.

Industrial/Manufacturing: Go Where Your Candidates Are

More than half of skilled trade workers are over 45 years old, according to a study by Economic Modeling Specialists International. Which social networks are the best for finding older candidates for blue-collar professions?


The demographics point to Facebook: 72 percent of all 50-60 year-olds use Facebook. And while LinkedIn’s largest audience skews wealthy (75K +), the largest percentage of Facebook users are working-class (less than 50K). This may be why Facebook is actively pursuing the blue-collar market for job listings.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore LinkedIn—they’re actively pursuing workers in industrial and manufacturing jobs. Instead, consider implementing both into your sourcing strategy.

Business: Relationships Now, Placements Later

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s a good practice to build relationships before you need them. But this is especially true for sales roles. More than a third of currently employed salespeople turn over each year.

The high turnover rate means salespeople who aren’t available now may be in the near future. Play the long game by cultivating relationships early. If you can provide value to your connections now, you’ll ensure you’re the one they call when they want to move on.

Finding and placing in-demand talent requires innovation, insight, and ingenuity. Stay tuned for more industry-specific tips and information to help you develop a sourcing approach that fits your firm’s needs. 

Want more sourcing tips? Read Sourcing for the Shortage: The Ultimate Guide to Candidate Sourcing for interesting findings on the candidate acquisition landscape and tips on how to source candidates.

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